Category: Culture & History

Was there a Revolutionary Social Democracy?

Samuel Farber reviews Eric Blanc’s Revolutionary Social Democracy. Working Class Politics Across the Russian Empire (1882-1917), a book that is likely to become the focus of important debate on the left.

For a 21st Century Bolshevism: Re-Configuring the Relations between the Cadres and the Subject

A 21st century Bolshevism should be much more open to both popular rebellion and cadre opposition to socialist rule than the original Bolsheviks ever were.

An Especially Shameful Episode in Zionist History

We need to know all this history and lots more about Zionist leaders’ dealings with Jew haters so we can immediately confront and neutralize Zionist slander the next time they falsely cry “antisemitism.”

It’s Easier to Imagine a Mark Fisher Meme than the End of Platform Capitalism

A constellation of events has thrown left wing memes into the mainstream, leading to a confirmation of the late Mark Fisher’s thesis that countercultural trends tend to be co-opted by capitalist media.

Beyond Tragedy: Postscript on Kronstadt at 100

To avoid repeating the Kronstadt tragedy, and to build toward principled world revolution, we can commit to organizing transnational solidarity and speaking out against all forms of authoritarian repression.

The Kronstadt Revolt of 1921 as a part of the Great Russian Revolution

The March revolution of 1921, initiated by “Red Kronstadt”, had to complete the cause of the February and October revolutions of 1917. In this context, the Kronstadt revolt of 1921 appears as an integral part of the revolutionary process that took several years.

Kronstadt at 100

On the 100th anniversary of the Kronstadt events, New Politics is hosting a symposium on the historic tragedy, its meaning and significance, and its implications for today’s socialists.

Marx’s Commune

An Appreciation and a Critique

For the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune, an analysis of Marx’s views on the Commune and its historical possibilities.

Satire and Healing

A Conversation with Singer/Songwriter Roy Zimmerman

An interview with the political singer-songwriter whose anti-Trump song got over 100 million views on social media.

Either-Or: Rosa Luxemburg and Internationalism

An exploration of Luxemburg’s proletarian internationalism and its lessons for today.

American Gothic; or, What Melville Can Teach Us

What Melville crafted might paradoxically be called a gothic humanism. While probing the depths of human depravity with lyricism and wit, Melville’s fiction directly confronted slavery and capitalism.

One Hundred Years of the Russian NEP – Lessons for Cuba

The lesson of the Russian NEP is that economic liberalization does not necessarily signify the democratization of a country, and that it may be accompanied by the elimination of democracy.

review

Helen Keller’s Socialism

A documentary on Helen Keller that is both inspiring and edifying.

The Techniques of Justice

Orwell and Camus on a Hanging and the Guillotine

Camus and Orwell both understood that the justification for state violence depends on describing it in such a way as to not convey too specific an image of the actual event.

The Cost of “Financial Literacy”

The book suggests that the key to ascending from the working class is to join the owning class through investing, where you can forever feed from the golden trough of passive-income, typically replenished by the working class you were once a part of.

review

Looking Back at Maoism and the Global Left

As against nearly a century of debates over Stalinism, the international left has never come to terms with Maoism, especially its global impact.

review
Isabel Wilkerson’s Caste

The Occlusion of Political Economy

Wilkerson’s adroit storytelling jumps off the page, but the glaring omission in her book is political economy.

Auditing U.S. Democracy

Classical Liberalism, Contemporary America, the Trump Years, and Beyond

The Trump years were deeply undemocratic, but they did not mark an abandonment of a previously rich democratic politics

Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution

“With this year’s worldwide renewal of the Black Lives Matter protests, readers could hardly ask for a better time to revisit the Haitian Revolution.” Review of Sudhir Hazareesingh, Black Spartacus: The Epic Life of Toussaint Louverture.

The Pull of Communist Culture

Martin Comack reviews, The Pull of Politics: Steinbeck, Wright, Hemingway, and the Left in the Late 1930s—Milton Cohen’s account of how the CPUSA attempted to establish relationships with three major American writers.

Being Friedrich Engels

Friedrich Engels, born 200 years ago on November 28, 1820, has been termed the ‘first Marxist’ in some commentaries and histories from the nineteenth century on, and with good reason.

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